What is a Standards-Based Performance Assessment System?

At MSU, we use a standards-based performance assessment system to assess the progress of candidates at different stages in MSU's programs for teachers and other school professionals. Below, we define key concepts and explain the characteristics of such a system.

Standards are written expectations for performance. Our institutional standards (also referred to as the MSU standards) articulate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions we want our candidates to have by the time they complete their program at MSU. These standards guide our curriculum, instruction, field and clinical experiences, and assessments. They also make our expectations for outcomes and levels of proficiency for candidate performance clear and explicit for students, faculty, and potential employers. Our system is standards-based in the sense that we use our institutional standards as guidelines for designing assessments and for evaluating student progress toward achieving particular outcomes and levels of proficiency.

Performance assessments require those being assessed to demonstrate their knowledge and proficiencies. Candidates in our programs for teachers and other school professionals may be asked to create a product (e.g., an instructional unit plan) or perform a task (e.g., adapt an instructional plan for an English language learner and a student with a disability), which is then evaluated according to previously established performance criteria. These criteria are presented in the form of rubrics-that is, written statements for determining levels of performance.

Our process for assessing candidates' performance is a system in that it is carefully planned and organized so that we gather and analyze data about student performance in ways that make the data useful for candidate advisement and program improvement.